The Giraffe In 'The Last Of Us' Finale Wasn't CGI & It Was Actually Filmed At Calgary Zoo

The famous giraffe lives right here in Alberta.

Contributing Writer, Vancouver
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in 'The Last of Us' episode 9.

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in 'The Last of Us' episode 9.

Liane Hentscher | HBO

Since The Last of Usfinale aired last night, online forums have been abuzz with reviews and fan theories about the intense conclusion to HBO's hit series. One particular scene that's attracted a lot of attention — spoiler alert — involves Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) feeding a giraffe — and, nope, it isn't CGI.

The scene was one that fans of The Last of Us video game had hoped wouldn't get left on the cutting room floor — it's a beautiful moment in which Ellie experiences joy, wonder and connection with Joel for the first time since her traumatic experiences in episode eight — but some viewers couldn't ignore that the giraffe looked kind of fake.

Well, it isn't. And in a Reddit thread titled "the giraffe is real," fans were shocked to see photos of a legit giraffe standing in front of a green screen with Pascal and Ramsey in the foreground.

In the Making of The Last of Us HBO documentary, it was revealed that this scene was actually filmed at the Calgary Zoo, and the giraffe's name is Naboo.

Apparently, the cast and crew spent a long time working with the zookeepers to get the giraffes acclimated, slowly bringing greenscreen panels into the enclosure.

"Yes, you can create a giraffe in visual effects, but it's just not the same," said location manager Matt Palmer.

It certainly made for a special scene — and after a series of devastating deaths, cannibalistic encounters, zombie attacks and other miscellaneous horrors, the moment was a welcome reprieve for viewers.

Plus, giraffes are cool.

"[They're] pretty massive," said Ramsey. "It's like a spiritual experience almost being so close to such a magnificent animal."

If you're itching for a little Joel-and-Ellie moment of your own, you can visit the Calgary Zoo and see the long-necked non-CGI mammal for yourself.

Sierra Riley
Contributing Writer, Vancouver
Sierra Riley is a Contributing Writer for Narcity Canada and is based in Vancouver.
Recommended For You